Outrage Continued and then Interrupted by Cops!
by, November 10th, 2011 at 11:16 PM (2608 Views)
I’ve spent most of the day bussing tables in between headache-inducing bouts of writing about Steven Pinker’s new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes.
During the few spare moments this has left free in my schedule, I’ve posted the odd thought, on Facebook, concerning the Penn State University pedophilia scandal ("As a Michigan graduate, I'm proud to boast: we are… NOT Penn State!”), then responding to the peevishness such reasonable comments inevitably provoke in the sentimental and self-deluded.
I’m not sure why, but for whatever reason, my capacity for outrage, at this point, is nearly spent. And yet I shall force myself to motor onwards like a rusted jalopy fueled by french fry grease and bile, a metaphor that is, frankly, not all that far from the mark.
So where were we?
Oh, yes, my 5th grade classroom, under Mr. Glarow’s desk, staring at clumps of my blond hair between his clenched simian fingers.
Let’s now segue, shall we, to last April, 2011…when
our annual Amish mudhole masters swimming championships was, as usual, being held at Clarion University, a Division III swimming school, whose pool’s official measurement with a steel tape was on file with the college’s coach, easily satisfying the mandate USMS requires for official competitions.
Moreover, two fully credentialed officials, dressed in neat white linen swim official/insane asylum guard-quality uniforms, were parading up and down the pool deck, their raptor eyes unblinking in search of even the tiniest of infractions. There was, in addition, a certified starter similarly attired and several USMS-qualified meet observers in attendance.
The first event of the day was the 1000 yard freestyle. Despite the recent outlawing of full body suits, with my freshly depilated body crammed into a jammer, I somehow flukishly managed to swim this event the fastest I have done in five years.
Before continuing, indulge a quick digression here. I am no swimming ubermensch, no Leslie “the Fortress” Livingston, no Chris “the Greek Olympian” Stevenson, no Dr. Kurt “Dr. Kirk Duxon, D.O.” Dixon, MD. I am but one of those multitudinous fellows whose swimming career was, throughout youth, considerably below mediocrity.
It is only because of obsessive-compulsive tendencies that persist in the face of heavy dose SNRI treatment that this status has changed even slightly with the passing of time. I have, in short, remained wedded to the sport of swimming throughout most of my life and have thusly managed to deteriorate at a slightly slower rate than many of my former, infinitely superior peers.
This is why I've been able to do in my dotage what was an impossible dream for me in my youth: crack the top 10 on the odd occasion. I have, in short, outlasted some, though by no means all, of my fellow bastards.
In yards, clearly the most difficult course to make the top 10, the best placements I have to date managed has been 6th place—invariably accomplished during the first or second year of “aging up.” When I finished last spring's mudhole 1000, and I looked up and saw my time, 11:18.15, it occurred to me that just possibly I would finally exceed this personal TT best.
Here are the results from the Clarion University state-of-the-art timing system:
1000 SCY Free
Heat 1, Lane 4
I was confident this swim would net me a top 10, and cautiously optimistic I might even place higher—for the first time in my life—higher than 6th. I was, it turns out, half right.
Here are the final listings for the 1000 SCY free from last spring:
1000 Freestyle SCY Men 55-59 (2011)
Michael T Mann
Tim P Buckley
Paul G Karas
Michael J Blatt
Mike J Ryder
Peter M Guadagni
The observant reader will quickly notice two things.
First, my time of 11:18.15 would have placed me fourth in my age group, the best showing – – to my knowledge – – that anybody in my genetic line has ever finished in a national sporting inventory of this caliber.
Second, there is, of course, no Jim Thornton listed on this roster.
At the risk of beating off a dead horse, which, frankly, I don’t think anyone wants to see, let me just stipulate that whatever paperwork was necessary to get this entirely run-by-the-book and completely kosher USMS-sanctionable (though not sanctioned) swimming meet to actually count--well, somehow, let us just say, the balls were dropped.
Actually, I am being overly generous here. The balls were never so much as picked up in the first place, rendering the possibility of dropping them moot.
The Clarion meet is by far the largest Masters meet within several hundred miles of Pittsburgh, and whoever is supposed to represent our USMS interests in this backwater region, whoever it is that takes our membership dues and puts these to whatever use membership dues are put, for reasons perhaps perfectly legitimate but perhaps, too, perfectly illegitimate—said persons, whoever they may be, did not pick up the ball and/or drop the ball. There was no ball. The meet didn’t count.
Live and learn, I eventually concluded.
Never again would I rely on my immediate vicinity, or any meet within Western Pennsylvania, for that matter, to count for TT. I would not make that boneheaded mistake again!
Refuse to pick up the ball and drop it once, shame on you! Refuse to pick up the ball and drop it twice, shame on me.
Next summer, I was determined to swim at least one, absolutely 100 percent, no question about it, guaranteed to be certified USMS certified LCM swimming meet….
Sorry, I must take a break from this vlog.
The local police just called to tell us that they arrested two grifters from Erie who apparently burglarized the Hotel of the Unfortunates, a dilapidated property we own and use to store heirlooms.
I will resume tomorrow after I see how much we have lost.
It is probably fitting that I don't overload my dear readers with too much outrage at one time anyhow. The last thing I want is for my misfortunes to haunt your dreams.